More disabled drivers get behind the wheel – #Engencares

More disabled drivers get behind the wheel – #Engencares

More disabled drivers get behind the wheel – #Engencares

Rebecca Makeke recently passed her driver’s license on her very first attempt – proof that Engen’s partnership with the Disability Economic Empowerment Trust (DEET) to assist persons with disabilities learn the skills needed to pass their learners and driver’s licenses is going from strength to strength.

Launched in the Eastern Cape in 2021, the training has since rolled out in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Free State with plans afoot to roll out in Western Cape in the months ahead.

To date, 66 aspirant motorists have passed their learners licences and are currently receiving driving lessons, while a further 44 candidates have successfully obtained their full driver’s licences.

One such driver is Emalahleni’s Rebecca Makeke who and was left paralysed after having a stroke, leaving her unable to walk unaided.

“I am very happy to have my driver’s licence as I never thought that I would be able to drive a car, being a disabled person,” says Makeke.

“Having a licence has given me new hope and opportunities and my aim for the future is now to one day buy my own car.”

Engen and DEET have worked together since 2019 on initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of life of persons with disabilities through the equalization of opportunities, poverty reduction, and social inclusion.

Engen’s General Manager: Corporate Strategy & Communications, Khalid Latiff extended hearty congratulations to Rebecca and all the other drivers who have successfully passed their driving licence tests.

He says the programme’s success can be attributed to the care and guidance provided by the DEET, which ensures that people with disabilities are taken through the full process.

“The programme covers learner’s license preparation and coaching, booking of learners and driver’s licenses, a minimum of 20 hours driving practice with a qualified instructor as well as covering all fees and insurance costs,” explains Latiff.

“The aim is to upskill 20 beneficiaries per province by helping remove barriers to participation and ultimately putting 100 new skilled drivers on the road.”

Expressing his gratitude to Engen for their continued support, DEET CEO Thabiso Phetuka says a driver’s license opens new career prospects for unemployed and retired people who still want to work.

“Our partnership with Engen provides hope to job seekers with disabilities and those who aspire to start their own businesses, who might previously have been unsuccessful in securing a position, as a result of not having a driver’s license,” says Phetuka.

Engen’s commitment to the DEET aligns with South Africa’s ratification of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was signed in 2007, as well as the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disability that was approved by Cabinet in 2015 as part of domesticating the convention.

“Engen’s drive to support persons with disabilities is not only about upholding the Constitutional principles of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, but also to put tangible measures into place to support developmental interventions, so that people living with disabilities can become inclusive, contributing members of society,” adds Latiff.

Disability inclusion is therefore one of Engen’s key social investment focus areas, giving the company the opportunity to contribute towards inclusive disability rights in South Africa.

“As a caring and inclusive company, this aligns with Engen’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which endeavour to ensure a better and more sustainable future for all,” continues Latiff.

The quest for sustainability is an essential part of Engen’s agenda and aligned with its statement of purpose, which is to become ‘a progressive energy and solutions partner, enriching lives for a sustainable future’.

Engen’s commitment to sustainable development is enhanced by its adoption of nine UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, which seeks to create sustainable work opportunities for fenceline community members through decent training and development.

Engen, Latiff adds, is therefore humbled to play a small part in empowering new motorists and opening new opportunities for them.

“As a company, we are inspired by and support government’s efforts to create a better life for all, and sincerely hope that having driving skills will lead to a self-sufficient, and economically independent future for the people who complete the programme.”

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